Monday, August 5, 2013
Alterraun Verner needs to play, but where?
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tommie Campbell looks to be the favorite to be the Titans' second starting cornerback on opening day.
But it's not like incumbent Alterraun Verner has just disappeared.
He's worked outside, he's worked at the nickel spot, he's even worked at deep safety. Coaches and teammates continue to talk about his professionalism and high-quality performance.
The most popular line about Verner: We've got to find a way to get him on the field.
That sounds nice.
But where exactly is that if Campbell is starting, if Coty Sensabaugh is excelling as the nickel and if Michael Griffin is locked in as the starting free safety?
It's hard to see it unless it's some sort of mix-and-match platooning, unless it's in packages that change game-to-game or unless someone is hurt.
Still, Verner is not punching holes in the phrase, however.
"I'm expecting to be an integral part of the game," he said "I'm going to still be able to make a difference in a game in some way, shape or form."
Campbell has an advantage in size (he's 6-foot-3, 198 pounds to Verner's 5-10, 186) and physicality, and the Titans want to play more press coverage.
Veteran safety George Wilson said Verner is no pushover in such coverage, having "held his own" against Kenny Britt, the team's most physical receiver, during Saturday's scrimmage.
"He's not the biggest guy," Wilson said. "But he has the heart of the biggest guy."
Verner is a smart player and a smart guy, who's approached the competition in just the manner the team expected.
"Our team, our coaches are going to put the best men out there," he said. "So if I happen to be one of the best people in that given package in that given game for that given play, they will do their best to accommodate that. And if I am not, they'll accommodate otherwise.
"All I can do is be the best I can be every time I'm out there and I know that me doing that, other people have to elevate their game so that they're going to be ready to play."